Happy Fourth: On Secession and Armed Insurrection

Right after writing this morning’s article, I saw an email from a former spokesperson for the Michigan Republican party. Here is its conclusion:

If government can mandate that I pay for something I don’t want, then what is beyond its power? If the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday paves the way for unprecedented intrusion into personal decisions, then has the Republic all but ceased to exist? If so, then is armed rebellion today justified?

God willing, this oppression will be lifted and America free again before the first shot is fired.

Is armed rebellion justified? Growing up, I heard from time to time that someday the government would “crack down” and armed rebellion would be necessary – and justified. I fully expected there to be an armed insurrection someday. This is a big part of why we were such supporters of the second amendment, and of the NRA. We children all knew where the local armory was, as this is where we were told an armed insurrection must start.

As Ed recently pointed out, for the right wing I grew up ensconsed in, everything is the death of freedom.

On Planet Wingnuttia, we are perpetually on the brink of losing our freedom. Each new step toward equality, each new advancement in taking care of those who need it the most, is the lynchpin that destroys the republic and turns us into a dictatorship. And every time they’ve been wrong. Every. Single. Time. And that does nothing to keep them from making the same arguments all over again, disappearing their past predictions down the memory hole.

After Obama was elected, a friend of mine sent me a facebook message: “Are you ready for four years of hell?” He spoke of concerns about being carted off to jail by the end of Obama’s presidency because of the erosion of our freedoms. The irony is that it seems to me that the greatest threat to our government today is not Obama’s attempt to reform our healthcare system but rather the increasing control big business has over our our elections and our politicians. I say that this ironic because the right wing is generally in favor of Citizens United, the recent Supreme Court decision that is allowing unprecedented amounts of corporate money to flow into politics.

The government is supposed to reflect the views and needs of the people via direct representation. This is why all the talk of the need for armed insurrection is so disingenuous. Our country was set up so that wrongs would be righted at the ballot box, not through force of arms. When our country was only a few years old, farmers in the back country of Pennsylvania were upset at taxes they felt were unfair, and they rose in armed rebellion against them. Washington himself led his troops out against them, making clear in word and deed that armed rebellion was no longer acceptable. Why? Because aggrieved citizens now had recourse to the vote.

Ideally, as long as the government is actually a reflection of the will of the people we need not be concerned about tyranny or discuss the potential of armed revolution. Why? Because while we may not agree with the will of the people, it is still the will of the people – not some sort of dictatorship – that is being carried out. And if we don’t like the will of the people and want to change things, we need to prevail upon the court of public opinion and bring about change through the ballot box.

But if our politicians are bought and paid for by big business, who owns our government? The people or big business? That, not Obamacare, not “abortion on demand,” not welfare or income taxes or property taxes, is what any “freedom-loving American” should be concerned about. The right seems to think that “tyranny” and “oppression” and “slavery” are terms to be used any time the government does something they don’t like. The reality is that these are not terms to be used when you disagree with the actions of a representative government, but are rather terms to be reserved for a time when the people no longer have a voice in their government. And it was the later scenario, not the former, that our founding fathers were responding. And on this Independence Day, I wish the right would remember that.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • machintelligence

    The right seems to think that “tyranny” and “oppression” and “slavery” are terms to be used any time the governemtn doe something they don’t like.

    There are a couple of tpyos that need fixing there, but I also note that “socialist ” and “communist” are also used for anyone with whom they disagree. If Obama were a socialist, he wouldn’t have bailed out the banks, he would have nationalized them.

    “And every time they’ve been wrong. Every. Single. Time. “

    Conservatives have been on the wrong side of history for centuries, if not millennia.

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  • http://cfiottawa.com Eamon Knight

    If government can mandate that I pay for something I don’t want, then what is beyond its power?

    Gosh, pacifist and disarmament groups have been complaining about paying for the military for like, decades. I recall Christian tax resisters back in the 80′s — but on Planet Wingnuttia, it’s only tyranny when it’s something *I* don’t like.

    • Rosa

      tax resistance goes all the way back to Thoreau. But that’s not armed revolt – it’s civil disobedience.

  • Steve

    Oh the delicious hypocrisy. This coming from people who don’t hesitate a second to use the law to oppress people they don’t like and intrude into their personal lives

  • Carol

    Sounds like the last desperate cries of an old privileged white male who is suddenly finding all that privilege slipping away and is feeling like a poor wittle victim. Sure, who’s going to “rebel” with him? Some other old privileged white males?

    The ACA was passed completely through democratic procedures. Does he really wants to rebel against democracy?

  • http://sharah.wordpress.com/ sharah

    Delurking to say I love this. It’s a beautiful summary of the hypocracy of the “conservative” movement right now.

  • smrnda

    Slavery is someone forcing you to work in the fields for 14 hours a day and then coming back home to a mud hut, a whipping and a bowl of mush and being sold and led off in chains when someone decides you’re no longer a good ‘investment.’ Paying some piddling tax that supports health care access – something that any person who is not an idiot would use by choice – is certainly not ‘slavery.’ At best, it’s an inconvenience. I mean, I think sales tax, as a regressive tax that hits the poor hardest, should be removed from items like basic food staples, but I wouldn’t call the sales tax ‘slavery’ or ‘tyranny.’

    Also, Christians are all for authority – whether the authority figure is right or wrong , benevolent or not, when the authority figure is a (male) pastor or the husband in a family. However, if the authority is anything else, it’s bad. I’ve read the Bible and I don’t find that consistent with what is written in there at all.

    Paolo Freire was a Brazilian educator and social justice figure. He wrote something to the effect that when you stop oppressors from oppressing, they always whine that their freedom is being infringed on since, to them, ‘freedom’ means ‘domination.’


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